weeAsked: What are your top 12 must-haves for new parents?

From diapers to clothes, monitors to swaddles, babies require a lot of stuff. But, luckily, they don’t need it all right away! So what should you have on hand when you bring a baby home? In this week’s Big Question, we asked people to share their top 12 new parent essentials.

Common themes: Moms and dads swear by Pampers Swaddlers (especially for the wetness indicator), aden + anais swaddles, side snap tees, sound machines, and any cozy contraption to help babies snooze.
Unexpected answers:Wine and an exercise ball (see below for why!)

Check out three great lists from our readers to help prep for baby. 

Abigail’s List:

1. WubbaNub: This Soothie pacifier with a little plush animal attached helps keep the pacifier in place and your baby will love to cuddle with it.

2. All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO): Our pediatrician wrote me a prescription for this and I wished I had it in the beginning. It is the be-all and end-all for sore nipple cream.

3. Dappi Organic Natural Cotton Nursing Pads: You’re going to leak when you start nursing and these are so soft and comfortable. I found the reusable ones to be irritating, so wash these with the baby clothes.

4. Bravado Designs Original Nursing Bra: This nursing bra is so comfortable and perfect for wearing at home or going for walks.

5. The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD: We bought the book, but who has time to read? One night when our baby wouldn’t stop crying, we put the DVD on. We got to step 3 and our baby magically stopped crying.

6. Gymnic/Classic Plus Burst-Resistant Exercise Ball: While pregnant, someone told me to get a fitness ball for soothing the baby. I brushed off the advice. Then I used one in my new mom class and OMG- why did I ignore that suggestion? Bouncing on the ball while holding your newborn mimics the feeling of being back in the womb. Every baby I know loves the fitness ball.

7. aden + anais Swaddle Blankets: These are great for swaddling, and are the perfect blanket size for newborn classes, the park, or stroller.

8. giggle Better Basics Layette Collection: My baby lived in her footed pants and kimono-style onesies. And the hats are organic and stay on.

9. Baby Buddy Natural Bath Sponge: This sponge is natural, so soft, and holds a good amount of water. It made the early sponge baths a breeze and I still use them today with my 10-month old.

10. Medela Freestyle Breast Pump: I thought I didn’t need a pump right away, but I had breastfeeding issues and had to pump every three hours. In all of the “low milk supply madness,” my husband had to run to the store to buy the pump. I wished I was more prepared. This pump is so light, and I had to take that thing everywhere.

11 UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller: We love this compact stroller that stands when folded. And with the infant insert, you can use the regular stroller seat that reclines all the way back for your newborn.

12. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base: A top-rated car seat and you need one to leave the hospital. The seat cover comes off easily for washing, critical for early baby messes!

Alison’s List:


1. Baby Jogger City Mini Single Stroller: It folds up like an umbrella stroller with one hand. You can snap a car seat into it like a travel system. Then, you can use the full size stroller when your baby is bigger. And there’s even a bassinet if needed!

2. Aquaphor: It’s smooth and gentle as a diaper ointment, and it also works as lip balm for mom.

3. Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Portable Bassinet: Use a bassinet next to the bed. We used the Fisher-Price one. It’s not pretty but it folds up nicely, fits in a trunk for trips in the car and doesn’t break the bank.

4. Cloth Diapers: They are the best burp cloths, and get more absorbent as they are washed. Plus they’re soft on baby’s skin.

5. Summer Infant SwaddlePod: I never got the hang of blanket swaddling and even velcro swaddles are tough early on. These zip right up for a snug fit and you can unzip from the bottom for night changes.

6. OxiClean: Babies have lots of laundry. This gets stains out every time.

7. Neat Solutions Tidy Toppers: These are basically waterproof sheets. Stick them on the changing pad and switch them out every time there’s a mess during a change (a lot at first). This way you only have to wash the changing pad cover when there’s a BIG mess.

8. iPhone: Use this for everything – photos, apps to track feedings, calendars to share, games to play while nursing, texts to your husband to request a glass of water from the kitchen!

9. The First Years Sounds for Silence Nursery Sound Machine: This makes continuous white noise and is loud enough for baby to feel soothed. I’m missing the sound now that she’s sleeping in her crib.

10. BabyGanics Alcohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer: We started out with normal soap and sanitizer and our hands were chapped and burning by the end of the first week. This stuff is much gentler.

11. Carters Short Sleeve Side-snap Tees: Just easier than onesies.

12. Pampers Swaddlers: I love the blue line indicator and I like the smell of these (it gives some people a headache).

Sharon’s List


1. 4moms Mamaroo: My son loved the movement and the mobile attached to it. We used it until he was about 3-4 months old.

2. Boppy Changing Pad Liners: We bought extras of these because… well…there’s always accidents.

3. Pampers Baby Dry Diapers: We switched to these early on and they worked great and keep almost “everything” IN. My son is comfortable. He HATED being wet, and these worked better after Swaddlers.

4. Summer Infant 3 Stage Newborn to Toddler Baby Bath: The sling was secure and comfortable for him when he was smaller, and the transition to sitting/laying in the actual tub was smooth.

5. Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover: I used this everywhere – from home, to friends houses, to the backseat of my car.

6. Medela Contact Nipple Shield: My son’s latch was not great, and this saved us! I used it for about 4-5 months.

7. iBaby Feed Timer: This app from iTunes helped me keep track of feedings and diaper changes.

8. Motorola Wireless Video Baby Monitor: Easy to use and mount.

9. Fisher-Price Rock n Play Sleeper: This is super soft, has a newborn insert that is easy to remove, folds up and you can take it anywhere.

10. Lululemon Yoga Pants: Who wears anything but stretchy at the beginning? (I wish I still could!)

11. A Big Water Bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated!

12. Paper Goods: We didn’t wash a single plate, fork or cup for at least a month. It was not very green, but a huge time saver.

And if you missed any of the last few Big Qs, feel free to share your own (see recent ones below!) or view some favorites that were shared!

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